- - Thursday, July 12, 2012

PENALTY

Oil giant BP has agreed to pay an additional $13 million to settle charges of failing to fix safety violations at its Texas City oil refinery after a 2005 explosion killed 15 workers.

The settlement announced Thursday is the latest move toward resolving hundreds of violations at the plant alleged by the federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration.

BP already paid $50 million in 2010 to settle some of the OSHA violations.

The government had been seeking a total of $80 million in penalties, which would have been the largest fine in its history.

LABOR

Fewer auto closings reduce unemployment claims

The number of people seeking U.S. unemployment benefits plunged last week.

But a big reason is that automakers have skipped some of their usual summer shutdowns to keep up with demand, causing fewer temporary auto layoffs.

Economists expect the number of Americans seeking unemployment aid to go back up in coming weeks.

The auto industry’s recovery has helped support the struggling U.S. economy.

U.S. auto sales in the first half of the year jumped 15 percent over the same period a year ago. Sales of new vehicles surged in June. Automakers also began Independence Day promotions early, lifting sales at the end of the month.

RETAIL

Nordstrom to launch Topshop in 14 stores

NEW YORK — Upscale Nordstrom Inc. has teamed up with Arcadia Group to launch shops under the British company’s Topshop and Topman brands in 14 of its 117 full-scale department store locations.

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